WoW Classic classes: who to play in PvE and PvP, as well as Talent trees and more explained

WoW Classic classes
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Having trouble making a choice between WoW Classic classes? While a lot of the class fantasy and skills are still recognisable, your favourite WoW classes in Battle for Azeroth may not translate well to your experience in Classic. The WoW Classic classes differences are pretty significant so we've put together a handy overview of the classes available in Classic to help you choose the right one for you.

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Warrior (tank, melee damage)

Wow classic classes warrior

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Talent trees: Arms, Fury, Protection

Warriors are melee fighters, using Rage as a primary resource. They are the strongest tank in the game so are a solid choice if that's your primary focus, though they are also extremely strong as damage dealers. They have three 'stances' which will need to be switched between in order to use different abilities, making them a relatively complex class to play well.

While Warrior is a very strong class in both PvE and PvP content, if you're going solo it's one of the harder classes to level as it has no self-healing abilities.

Druid (tank, melee and ranged damage, healer)

wow classic classes druid

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Talent trees: Feral, Balance, Restoration

Druids are a highly versatile class due to their ability to shapeshift into different forms. Bear Form will increase your health pool and armour and give you access to tanking abilities but are considerably weaker than Warriors as a tanking class. Cat Form gives you access to your Feral melee damage-dealing abilities while Moonkin Form allows you to access the ranged Balance skills. 

Restoration druids are strong in PvE content but the damage dealing specialisations are relatively weak. All Druids can shine in PvP if played well, though they are hard to master, due to need to constantly shapeshift into different forms. The good news is that they are a fairly easy class to level due to their tanking and healing abilities. Travel form also makes getting around much easier.

Rogue (melee damage)

wow classic classes rogue

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Talent trees: Assassination, Combat, Subtlety

Rogues are a melee damage dealing class that specialises in incapacitating enemies with a variety of crowd-control abilities and they coat their weapons in poison. They are masters of stealth, slipping in and out of the shadows to deal a lot of damage. Some of their abilities will require reagents to activate so you'll need to allow bag space for these before you set out.

Like Warriors, Rogues are strong in both PvE and PvP content but can be difficult to level solo, though they do have the advantage of stealth making them slightly more forgiving.

Hunter (ranged damage)

wow classic classes hunter

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Talent trees: Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, Survival

Hunters are ranged damage dealers that use bows, crossbows or guns to take down enemies. They can tame animals as pets that will fight alongside them in battle, allowing them to stay at range. Hunters can choose from a number of different 'Aspects' that can buff them, both in and out of combat and they'll gain access to a number of traps that can be used to deal damage or crowd-control enemies. Hunters need to carry ammunition for their weapons and food for their pets so you'll need to keep this in mind before setting out.

Hunters are extremely strong in solo content and have a fair amount of utility that makes them appealing in group situations. They are an easy class to level, thanks to their pet. 

Priest (healer, ranged damage)

wow classic classes priest

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Talent trees: Discipline, Holy, Shadow

Priests are ranged casters that specialise in healing, though the Shadow talent tree gives them access to a number of damage-dealing abilities. They have the strongest single-target healing in the game as well as the ability to shield and buff allies.

Priests are the most sought after healers and perform well in both raids and dungeons. All of the Priest's spells have a significant mana cost so obtaining a wand as early as possible will help make levelling easier and cut down on downtime if you're playing solo.

Priests also have access to two extra racial abilities which vary, depending on the race you've chosen:

Touch of Weakness - The next melee attack on the caster will cause (10.7% of Spell power) Shadow damage and reduce the damage caused by the attacker by 20 for 2 min.

Devouring Plague - Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 896 Shadow damage over 24 sec. Damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster.

Hex of Weakness - Weakens the target enemy, reducing damage caused by 20 for 2 min.

Shadowguard - The caster is surrounded by shadows. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for (26.7% of Spell power) Shadow damage. Attackers can only be damaged once every few seconds. This damage causes no threat. 3 charges. Lasts 10 min.

Night elf:
Starshards - Rains starshards down on the enemy target's head, causing 936 Arcane damage over 6 sec.

Elune's Grace - Reduces ranged damage taken by 95 and increases chance to dodge by 10% for 15 sec.

Desperate Prayer - Instantly heals the caster.

Feedback - The priest becomes surrounded with anti-magic energy. Any successful spell cast against the priest will burn 105 of the attacker's Mana, causing 1 Shadow damage for each point of Mana burned. Lasts 15 sec.

Fear Ward - Wards the friendly target against Fear. The next Fear effect used against the target will fail, using up the ward. Lasts 10 min.

Desperate Prayer - Instantly heals the caster.

Mage (ranged damage)

wow classic classes mage

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Talent trees: Frost, Fire, Arcane

Mages are ranged casters that use Mana as a primary resource and can use a variety of spells to deal damage, depending on the situation. They can conjure food for themselves and group members and at later levels, have access to Portals and Teleport which allows them (and party members)  to travel between major cities with ease. Mages also have access to Polymorph, one of the strongest crowd-control abilities in the game.

Mages are a strong class and are always sought after in group content. They are relatively easy to level, thanks to their crowd-control abilities and damage output.

 Warlock (ranged damage)

wow classis classes warlock

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Talent trees: Destruction, Affliction, Demonology

Warlocks are ranged casters that have access to a number of demon pets that will fight alongside them. They can replenish their mana by depleting their health thanks to Life Tap and can heal themselves back up by creating Healthstones or by using the Drain Life ability on enemies. They also have some useful utility in that they can use a 'Soulstone' on party members, allowing them to resurrect if they die, and summon party members to their current locations using their Ritual of Summoning ability. Warlocks also have class mounts that can be learned at level 40 and again at level 60.

Warlocks are strong in both PvE and PvP content and, thanks to their ability to regenerate mana and health, they are very easy to level.

Horde only: Shaman (ranged/melee damage, healer)

wow classic classes shaman

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Talent trees: Enhancement, Elemental, Restoration

Shamans are only available to Horde players and can deal both ranged and melee damage or heal themselves or others. They also have a wide range of utility that can be useful in group situations, such as totems to buff themselves and party members, the Reincarnation passive that allows the Shaman to resurrect upon death, and Ghost Wolf, allowing you to transform into a wolf, increasing your movement speed while outside.

While Shamans aren't the strongest class in Classic in terms of damage, they bring a lot of utility to group situations so are often sought after in dungeons and raids. They are one of the slower classes to level but the Ghost Wolf ability cuts down on travel time.

Alliance only: Paladin (tank, melee damage, healer)

wow classic classes paladin

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Talent trees: Retribution, Protection, Holy

Paladins are only available to Alliance players and deal melee damage and are able to heal themselves or others in group situations. While they are able to tank dungeons, Paladins don't have any defensive cooldowns and no 'taunt' ability, meaning that they would struggle to tank in a raid environment. Paladins have a number of Auras that can buff party members as well as Blessings that can be used in certain situations. Paladins have class-specific mounts that can be learned at levels 40 and 60.

Thanks to their Auras, paladins are generally sought after in group content though they are one of the slower classes to level if you're playing solo.

Guides Writer, PC Gamer

Sarah has been writing about games for several years and, before joining PC Gamer, freelanced for the likes of TechRadar, GamingBible, and Rock Paper Shotgun. These days, and when not writing guides, most of her spare time goes into MMOs—though she's quite partial to JRPGs too. She has spent much of the last decade playing the likes of Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, Final Fantasy 14, and World of Warcraft.